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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Age of Globalization: what Kind of Peace – what Kind of War?

Gerhard Labuschagne.

Throughout history men have engaged in war. Changes in technology have led to changes in the way wars were waged. They have also led to changes in the absence of war, i.e. peace. Both conditions have been reflective of and subject to changes characteristic of the world in which they occur.
After the rather sudden and unexpected end of the cold war, the world in especially the last part of the 20th century has become increasingly characterised by “globalization”. In the place of the rather neat demarcation of the world into a bipolar ideological situation, the world has changed in to an unpredictable mix of unipolarism and multiplarism. with this, a change has also occurred in the basic nature of the two major institutions of world politics, i.e. peace and war.
During the sixties of the previous century, Raymond Aron developed a typology of both peace and war in his “Peace and War: a theory of international relations”. He distinguished three types of peace – “equilibrium” (the political units are in balance), “hegemony” (they are dominated by one among them) and “empire” (they are dominated by one to such an extent that all the rest disappear as political units). His classification of war was the following: ”interstate” (war between political units based on mutual recognition of existence and legitimacy), “super-state/imperial” (war aimed at the elimination of certain participants and the formation of a higher level unit) and “infra-state/infra-imperial” (war aimed at the maintenance/decomposition of national/imperial units).
The aim of this paper is to use the Aron typology to establish the (possible) changing nature of the two basic institutions of world politics (peace and war) in and as a result of the age of globalization. What is the nature of globalized peace and war? A further aim is to extrapolate into the future. Does the future of peace and war (presumably increasingly globalized) have to look like the past? To these questions answers are sought.


Gerhard Labuschagne  (South Africa)
Department of Political Sciences and Philosophy
University of South Africa

  • Peace
  • War
  • Globalization
  • Change
Person as Subject
  • Aron, Raymond

(30 min Conference Paper, English)